I’ve spent many years (and dollars) looking for the perfect nude/understated polish. Here’s some of the ones I’ve picked up along the way.
I apologize in advance for polish on my cuticles/variation in lighting. The colours are true representations though.
Essie Topless & Barefoot is a polish I was gifted in highschool, when I was either much fairer or much less picky. I used to think it was a very cool off-white shade and would mentally compare it to fairer people wearing white polish with their tans. Overall I dislike the creme finish with such a light shade but I do think the hints of pink in it make it special.
Ciaté Ivory Queen is a lovely champagne pink polish with a pearl finish. It’s very subtle and natural looking, and pretty much a more contemporary version of what I want Topless & Barefoot to be.
Ciaté Members Only is decidedly more shimmery and sheer, even with 3 coats I could still see my nail underneath. The gold shimmer paired with the pink polish makes it look almost rose gold and a prettier ‘going out option’ than Ivory Queen.
Essie Marathin is a dusty mauve, creme finished polish. It’s more of a spring colour for me, but it’s really pretty and feminine. It’s also not overly bright like some other options you see for spring.
Essie All Tied Up is what I imagine Maybelline’s lipstick in Touch of Spice/Gerard 1995 would look like in a lipstick form. Essie’s website describes it as a bronze with gold shimmer but I think it’s more of a copper which makes the gold shimmer register as orange. I love this colour for fall, it’s the kind of shade that goes well with everything pumpkin flavoured.
OPI Chocolate Shake-Speare was the first ‘nude’ polish I ever bought and loved. It’s a proper champagne colour with a frost(?) finish. It’s absolutely ideal for professionals or those who aren’t allowed to have very noticeable polish.
Essie Merino Cool is a creme greige. It’s quite deep which makes it perfect for darker skin tones but it was far more popular a couple winters ago, and I haven’t really used it since then.
Essie Mink Muffs is a medium brown in a creme finish. This is one of my favourite polishes because it’s so wearable and versatile. It’s more noticeable than the light colours I was touting earlier but it also works with a variety of moods and styles of clothing.
Essie Little Brown Dress is a very deep brown creme polish, so dark that it’s almost black. I don’t usually like these “so dark they’re black colours” because it just seems a little pointless to me (Nevertheless, I still have about 4/5 along these lines). While this doesn’t look bad on me I imagine this would be really nice on a darker woman and could be really cool for the 90s revival we’ve got going on.
The Ciaté polishes were both 3 coats and I could have probably used more to build them up further. I could have gotten away with one coat on Little Brown Dress, Merino Cool, Mink Muffs, All Tied Up, and Marathin. I’ve also been wearing these for two days and they generally have a pretty good wear of 3 days so far, considering I usually chip my nails within the first 3 hours.
Hope this was helpful!